Do’s & don’ts for lampshades


Finding the right lampshade for your lamp is just as important as choosing the right lamp for a room. Misjudging the shape, size or colour of a lampshade will draw attention to your lamp for all the wrong reasons. But get your lamp and shade pairing spot on, and it can help tie the whole room together. Our growing range of plain and patterned shades offer a brilliant way to add drama to a scheme, whilst also giving you the opportunity to personalise your lighting. We caught up with Country Life Interiors Editor Giles Kime to find out the do’s and don’ts to remember when choosing a lampshade.

Do consider your interior scheme

“First, look your overall interiors style. Shades with tapered sides (known as empire) tend to suit classic schemes. Those with straight sides (known as drum shades) have a more contemporary feel. That said, there are no rules.”

Don’t ignore the shape of the lamp

“Mirror the shape of the lamp in your lampshade. Bottle and urn shaped lamps tend to work well with tapered shades and square lamps with straight sided shades. Column lamps go well with either.”

Do play around with patterns

“Patterned lampshades can turn a lamp into a focal point. Whether you go for bold or discreet patterns, the key is simple designs that don’t combine a large number of colours.”

Do co-ordinate colours

“If you opt for a colourful patterned lampshade, ensure that the dominant colour is echoed somewhere else in the scheme, such as on cushions, throws, curtains or rugs.”

Don’t go too small

“Go for the largest shade that the space will allow. If your lamp is in between lampshade sizes, always choose the larger one. Even in smaller rooms, overscaled items such as lampshades make the space seem larger rather than smaller.”

Don’t use single lamps

“Whenever possible, try to arrange lamps in pairs – even if they are on different sides of a room – and match the shades, of course. Using a pair of lamps rather than just one will create a symmetry that imposes order on a room.”

Do swap your lampshades from time to time

“A different lampshade is such a quick and easy way to give an old lamp a new lease of life. Swap plain for patterned, linen for silk, or a smooth one for a pleated design.”

Once you’ve found the ideal lampshade design, take a look at our guide on how to measure a lampshade or pop in-store and one of our interiors advisors will help you to choose the correct fit.